June 2011

We Saw & Want ‘A Better Life’

ULTCW, CHIRLA, LAANE, PowerPAC and UHW members, staff and supporters met up in Commerce for a very special screening and discussion of the film, ‘A Better Life’. Over 300 people showed up for the screening which was put on by Summit Entertainment.

There could not have been a better crowd for such an inspirational movie, tightly packed, with additional seats brought in at the back of the theater, we journeyed together as a gardener in East L.A. struggled to give his son a better life.

The film, which will be opening in theaters on July 8th, comes from the Academy Award nominated director of About a Boy, Chris Weitz and screenwriter Eric Eason. The writing was so on point that you couldn’t find a dry eye in the audience by the end of it. The story touched us all.

After the film, Wyatt Closs of SEIU ULTCW, Ana Grande of PowerPAC, and Angelica Salas of CHIRLA were joined by writer, Eric Eason and actor José Julián (who plays the son) to form the discussion panel. The bilingual discussion highlighted what organizations here in LA are doing today to shape true immigration reform in this country. Audience members shared their own stories and reactions to the film with the panel, giving the writer and actor, José Julián, a chance to explain their personal relationship with the film, as well.

Check out all of the photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/seiu-ultcw/sets/72157627078477186

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Home Care Worker Writes Letter to the Editor in Santa Cruz Sentinel

Home care workers in Santa Cruz county are facing wage cuts by the Board of Supervisors. Many of our members and supporters have been doing all they can to make sure their voices are heard. These cuts will be devastating to the home care workers and their disabled and elderly clients. One such supporter was able to write a letter to the editor in today’s Sentinel. Please read the excerpt below:

Supes should cut their own pay instead

I was dismayed to learn that the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors is considering cutting the pay of some of the lowest paid workers in Santa Cruz: home health care workers. Santa Cruz County is the only county in California considering this option, which is shameful. If this goes into effect, many of these workers, unable to survive on the proposed pay cut from $11.50 to $10.35 an hour, will be forced to stop caring for the disabled and elderly in their homes. The cost of public-sponsored hospitalization for that population will increase our budget deficit even further. Aside from the moral outrage, fiscally this makes no sense. The county coffers would gain little by this drop in the bucket. If our budget is so dire, the supervisors need look no further than their own selves to solve the problem. By cutting their annual salaries of $112,000 by the same 9 percent, maybe we would no longer be in the red.

Martha Graham-Waldon, Felton

http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/letters/ci_18366999

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Modesto Rally Encourages Senator to Stand Up Against Cuts

Yesterday, over 200 members and community allies held a rally in front of Senator Cannella’s office to urge him to stand up and support the revenue, not the cuts. Members from UHW, ULTCW, CFA, L1000 and Local 521 were able to make the event a true community success!

Also joining us was Senator Cannella’s church choir from the Revival Center United Pentecostal Church, who sang during the rally. The crowd especially loved their rendition of , Lean on Me. We heard from all sides of the community; from agricultural workers to the disabled and elderly.

Check out all of the pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stanfupforca/sets/72157626911098581/

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It’s Time to Make Homecare Jobs Good Jobs

Workers Caring for Seniors and People With Disabilities Need Minimum Wage and Overtime Protections

Washington, DC – L. Toni Lewis, MD, Chair of SEIU Healthcare, shared this statement today in support of the Direct Care Job Quality Improvement Act and the revision of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to include all homecare workers:

“We are in the midst of a national crisis of care. Homecare workers around this country are caring for older Americans and people with disabilities who want to live with dignity. Yet these same workers are being deprived of a similar dignity that comes with a good job that can feed and provide for a family. This is not just a homecare worker issue: poverty wages, no sick time and no healthcare coverage results in very high turnover rates—in some states as high as 90 percent – and men and women who want to remain at home can find themselves struggling to find or keep the help they need.

“The Direct Care Job Quality Improvement Act is a tremendous step forward in delivering the minimum wage and overtime protections that would help stabilize this growing profession and create the kind of jobs that can sustain a family and create new opportunities for job growth and advancement by:

  • Ensuring that home care workers receive the same federal minimum wage and overtime protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act that other workers enjoy.
  • Improving federal and state data collection and oversight with respect to the direct care workforce; and
  • Establishing a grant program to help states improve direct care worker recruitment, retention, and training.

“500,000 homecare worker have united in SEIU to improve the quality of their work and provide the highest quality of care to their clients, but a union is not enough when labor regulations have not kept pace with the reality of a rapidly growing and essential part of the healthcare industry.

“The Fair Labor Standards Act must be revised to include the more than two million homecare workers it presently excludes. This legislation coupled with the swift action of the Department of Labor to include homecare workers under minimum wage and overtime protections will mean that millions of working women and men who are called to this work will enjoy the same protections as other workers. As our country struggles not just to create jobs, but to create good jobs, we cannot miss this opportunity.”

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Contact: Meghan Finegan: 617-284-1116; Meghan.Finegan@seiu.org

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SEIU United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW), Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal and Members of Community Rally in Long Beach in Support of Cambrian Home Care Workers’ Right to Form Union

Private Home Care Agency has been resistant to Workers Efforts to Unionize

Long Beach, CA – SEIU United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW), Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal and members of the community hosted a rally on Friday at Los Altos Park Plaza in Long Beach to build support for Cambrian Home Care Agency workers’ right to form a union. Workers believe a union would lead to better working conditions, healthcare coverage and training, and would also lead to quality care for patients, many of whom are the community’s most vulnerable, including seniors, disabled and the blind.

Cambrian Home Care, a private home care agency, has thus far been resistant to workers’ efforts to unionize, and the group hoped that the rally would begin to change that.

“Our fellow caregivers at Cambrian need our help and support. They are trying to gain their voice in a company where the owner refused to hear their request,” Yolanda Richards, Executive Board member, ULTCW, said at the event. “She won’t accept the papers that have been filed for an election, tried to prevent them from meeting with union representatives, sent letters to workers with lies about the union and even hired an expensive union-busting organization with the same money that could have been used to give her employees a living wage and affordable health care.”

The workers also presented a petition to Cambrian with more than 1200 signatures of mostly Long Beach residents who support the workers’ right to a union.

In addition to speakers from ULTCW, speakers at the event included Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, Dr. Garon Harden, immediate past president of the Ministerial Alliance and Dawn Bronsema, with the California Alliance for Retired Persons, who spoke about how a quality workplace could help many of the community’s seniors.
“Cambrian should be glad to give their employees an opportunity to grow and become even better employees. Because in the end, this means better care for our seniors,” Ms. Bronsema said. “As seniors we need consistent, quality care that only a well-trained long-term care provider can offer. This is important because one day these workers will be our lifeline.”

SEIU United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW) is California’s leading long term care organization dedicated to providing and protecting quality care for some of our most vulnerable residents. SEIU ULTCW represents 180,000 in-home care providers and nursing home workers throughout California, making it the largest union of long-term caregivers in California and the second largest SEIU Local in the nation.

# # #

Kerry Townsend Jacob, Communications Director,
SEIU-United Long Term Care Workers, 310-806-0893

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Mercury News: After years of cuts, county home care workers fear a replay

Mercury News illuminates the struggle that Santa Cruz Homecare workers are facing with cuts to both their hours and wages.

Excerpt:

With cataracts and vision in one eye down to 10 percent, small tasks are hard for Live Oak resident John McCauley.

Washing machines confound him: They’re all digital now, no dials. And a trip to the grocery store is to rely on strangers to help find food, and tell him how much it costs.

That’s where Judy Hayes comes in, his longtime home health care worker. Hayes prepares meals – McCauley’s a fan of tuna sandwiches – and helps him out with chores, visiting several days a week. She brings Buddy, a 10-year-old terrier who lolls on the utility-grade carpet in McCauley’s low-income apartment.

Both are worried about the future of a program that has long been targeted for cuts, and could fall under the knife again. With the state cutting back on home health care workers’ hours, they worry over what happens if Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to extend a set of state taxes to halve the state’s projected deficit fails. And they are in labor negotiations with cash-strapped Santa Cruz County that could result in their wages being cut to near minimum wage.
http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_17650862?nclick_check=1

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SC Sentinel & Others Cover Watsonville Rally

The Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper covered Friday’s rally to protest a prpposed wage cut for home care workers in Santa Cruz County. ULTCW members, along with consumers and community supporters, made their voices heard on the corner of Beach and Main street with cowbells, bedpans, and signs.

Here’s the excerpt:

Care recipients and providers, joined with community supporters Friday to protest a plan by the Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors to cut wages by nearly 10 percent for home care workers.

The proposed cuts would lower the wage of In-Home Supportive Services from $11.50 an hour to $10.35.

Home care workers provide services to the county’s most vulnerable, including senior citizens, the disabled and the blind.
http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_18309572?IADID=Search-www.santacruzsentinel.com-www.santacruzsentinel.com

More Press Coverage on the Vigil:
Patch.com
KION 46 Central Coast News

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SEIU United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW) and Members of Community Hold Vigil on Potential Wage Cuts to Santa Cruz County Home Care Providers

Group Also Opposed to Unnecessary Deportation Caused by “Secure Communities” Program

Watsonville, CA – On Friday, SEIU United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW) hosted a community vigil to protest potential wage cuts to In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) home care providers by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors in Watsonville. The Board of Supervisors is considering reducing the wages for home care workers who participate in the IHSS program from $11.50 to $10.35.

Santa Cruz County is the only county in the state to propose cuts to the IHSS program.

“These cuts would be devastating to home care workers, who already make wages that are barely above minimum wage. Every day we do important work, taking care of our community’s most vulnerable, including seniors, the disabled and the blind, and deserve to earn a living wage. Without that, many of us may not be able to continue performing these lifeline services,” said Susana Hernandez, Executive Board member, SEIU ULTCW.

The participants also called on California to stop supporting the federal “Secure Communities” Program. The program, meant to provide fingerprints to the Federal Government to help fight crimes, instead too often results in the deportation of illegal immigrants.

“This program needs to be stopped. It has caused many thousands of immigrants to be deported from our country, forcing them to leave their families and, in some cases, the only lives they have ever known. The program should either be fixed or shelved for good,” said Ana Ceja, SEIU ULTCW member.

SEIU United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW) is California’s leading long term care organization dedicated to providing and protecting quality care for some of our most vulnerable residents. SEIU ULTCW represents 180,000 in-home care providers and nursing home workers throughout California, making it the largest union of long term caregivers in California and the second largest SEIU Local in the nation.

# # #

Contact: Kerry Townsend Jacob, 310-806-0893

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Candle Light Vigil at Rio Hondo Energizes Workers For Friday’s Vote

Last night over 125 caregivers, community members, and ULTCW members and staff held a candle light vigil at the Rio Hondo Nursing Facility to show support for the long term care workers who will vote this Friday to join ULTCW.

The vigil helped energize Rio Hondo workers, who have been harassed, intimidated and even bribed in effort to get them to vote against forming their union.

We hope to welcome the Rio Hondo workers into the ULTCW family and are proud of the many members and staff who showed up to give their support and encouragement!

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The Reporter: Solano County wants to cut pay of caregivers

From Vacaville, CA, The Reporter covers Tuesday’s Solano Conty Board of Supervisors meeting where homecare workers’ pay was again being discussed.

The excerpt:

Clad in dark purple, In-home Support Services employees and their clients showed up in force at Tuesday’s Solano County Board of Supervisors meeting with one message — leave their pay alone. In a closed session meeting, according to the board’s agenda, the county met with labor negotiators of IHSS.

During the regular meeting, open to the public, IHSS workers explained that the county has asked them to cut their pay by $1 an hour, a decrease from $11.50 per hour to $10.50 per hour — an 8.7 percent pay cut.

Employees are outraged.

“One dollar means a lot to us,” said Beatriz Garcia, a single parent with six children. “Every penny, every dollar counts.”

Keri Lynn Doran said her caregiver, Joanne Mathis, is only paid for things that are scheduled, but Mathis goes above and beyond what she is paid to do. She’s afraid if wages are cut, workers will quit.

Mathis explained that the wage she earns provides for her and her husband and they don’t have healthcare.

She added that it’s already hard to pay bills with what she currently earns and a decrease in her pay will make that harder.

And while the employees could be paid less, the county is paying more.

A temporary funding source from the America Recovery Reinvestment Act has ended. Without that money, the wages would drop to about $9 per hour. The county will pay $2 million more to keep the wages at $10.50 per hour. The state maintains its financial contribution, but has decreased the amount of hours it covers. The state funding is matched by federal funds.

The county contributed slightly more than $7 million in fiscal years 2009-10 and 2010-11, according to Solano County Public Communications Officer Stephen Pierce, but the county could be paying as much as $9 million in 2011-12.

http://www.thereporter.com/ci_18276597?source=rss_viewed

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